Self-Publishing a Book: 3 Rookie Pitfalls

Self-Publishing a Book Rookie Mistakes

Catch Self-Publishing Rookie Mistakes Before You Make Them

Self-Publishing a Book: Common Rookie Mistakes

By Deborah S. Nelson

So you are thinking of self-publishing a book! Bravo! Publishing a book is an excellent choice for a project that will stretch your imagination, patience, and fortitude. I have self-published 14 books and coached and taught authors to self-publish over 100 books. I can help you avoid the common rookie pitfalls. Self-publishing is similar to taking on the general manager role of building your own home. With that understood, get ready to discover mistakes that could sabotage your book publishing project and make you want to throw in the towel.


Self-Publishing

Mistake # Three: Hiring a “Self-Publishing Company”

Let’s get your thinking straight right away.  The term,Self-publishing companies” is one of the biggest misnomers of the twenty-first century!  If you truly want to master at the art of self-publishing a book, let me help you with terminology. Also see the Dictionary of Self-Publishing for basic terms. Self-publishing a book as defined in WIKIPEDIA: Definition of Self-Publishing

Self-publishing is the publication of any book or other media by its author, without the involvement of an established third-party publisher. A self-published physical book is said to be privately printed. The author is responsible for and in control of the entire process, including, in the case of a book, the design of the cover and interior, formats, price, distribution, marketing and public relations. The authors can do it all themselves or outsource all or part of the process to companies that offer these services.

What does this mean? It means you do NOT hire someone to “self-publish” your book-this is crazy! The ONLY  one who can SELF publish your book is YOU! I get questions and inquiries daily about “self-publishing companies to avoid,” and I say, “AVOID ALL OF THEM!” Having said that you will need to select a printer, most likely a print of demand printer (which often label themselves as “self-publishing companies”)

The reason for this is, since you are the author, YOU and only YOU are the publisher. You are responsible for the entire project. When you hire one of these so-called “self-publishing companies” you are putting a third-party in the middle, spending more money than necessary, while still needing to oversee all the work. This will not save you much time, if any.  These “self-publishing companies” are, are really print on demand printing companies. Yes, you will need a printer, but that is all you will need from these so-called “self-publishing companies.”

Solution: Subcontract your own workers. Hire a print on demand company for the printing only. Then contract experts in each area. You will need a book cover designer, an interior designer, content editor, proofreader and many other freelancers throughout the process. Many so-called self-publishing companies are happy to overcharge for these services. Read my article on Managing Self-Publishing Services.

Mistake #Two: Manuscript Written Equals Book Completed

Once finished writing your manuscript, you are done, nearly done, or halfway done. WRONG. You are one-third of the way to the finish line of your book project. I tell all my clients right away that you can expect THREE parts to the life cycle of bringing a book into the world:

  1. Write Your Book
  2. Publish Your Book
  3. Market Your Book

Keep in mind that once you have written a book, you are only 1/3 of the way to knowing the complete joy of self-publishing your book! Publishing or self-publishing a book is a marathon, not a sprint.

Solution: Keep this in mind throughout the entire process to build mental and emotional  stamina needed to make it to the finishing line.

Mistake #One: Including Friends, Family & Random “Experts” in the Process

This is the top mistake most people make when self-publishing a book that keeps them from actually finishing. However, if they do persevere through all the conflicting critical eyes, the book is likely to be a mish-mash of styles, looks, proofreading rules, editorial approaches, and your watered-down message.

Let me put it to you straight. Writing a book is about giving your readers a passionate message that only you know… a story that only you can tell. When self-publishing a book get a vision for your book, and stick to it. Everyone is a “so-called” expert, and when it comes down to it, most of the decisions in book publishing are personal and artistic preference. Don’t let everyone’s well mean opinion water down your passionate message to the world.

Solution: If you feel you must get feedback, do not ask for “feedback” to feed your ego–rather for the good of the book. Plan two focus group sessions, and carefully invite your key supporters, along with your book publishing coach to moderate. In the first focus group session, share your original unedited manuscript, and ask people to report back within 7-10 days with their ideas and positive feedback. After that, move on with your book publishing project. Self-publishing a book has a timeline, and you must stay on track to get it done. You may also create a focus group later, for the book cover, and again give people 7-10 days for their reaction, and then move on. This is the biggest mistake that rookies make when self-publishing a book. Looking for support, and complements, and an ego boost, can ultimately sabotage your book project.


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Is Self-Publishing a Book Profitable?

Publishing a Book Digitally 

By Deborah S. Nelson

Tablet computer color splashNow that digital publishing has entered the playing field of the World Wide Web, a new question arises over the horizon of online book publishing. Is it possible to make money when publishing a book? In this article we address the question for those considering entering the ring of digital book publishing.


Self-Publishing

Book Publishing reaches back into history; and traditionally was an expensive venture to enter. The printing press was a pricey piece of equipment in the first place, as was the set-up involved in printing just one book. This required an up-front investment for printing at least 10,000 books to make one book affordable. See the video below which explains in more

detail the difference between digital publishing and traditional publishing.

Now that digital publishing allows any of us to print just one book affordably, that makes self-publishing doable for a one person enterprise.

Money Required for Publishing a Book

Before we can talk about making money in publishing a book, we need to talk about the costs involved to get started.  Since expensive printing equipment or set-ups are not required, that means anyone with a simple computer and an idea for a book can enter the playing field of book publishing. With no large investment required, the potential profit margin obviously skyrockets.

However, expect to put in a great deal of sweat equity, or pay for labor costs involved in preparing the digital file for publication. To find out more details about the exact costs involved in  publishing a book, here’s an article entitled Real Self-Publishing Costs to Publish a Book to get a detailed analysis of initial costs involved.

The Millions Made by Publishing a Book with Digital Publishing

Digital publishing equipment has made a new self publisher era possible. No longer considered ‘vanity publishing,” many successful traditionally published authors are getting excited about the size of their royalties made by publishing a book themselves. Take Barbara Freethy, for instances, Author of 34 novels including the Wish series and first author on Kindle and Nook to sell one million books. She has been writing for 20 years, and was published through four different publishing houses. Freethly is now self-publishing. “Once I saw how well my self-publishing books were doing and how much more attention and focus I could put on my own books, it was a pretty easy decision [to continue self-publishing] because those books have been doing so much better,” Freethy comments.

Amanda Hocking has made millions with her romance series with on e-book platforms as well. Considering now that the self-publishing industry is estimated as a 52 million dollar industry in 2012, there is certainly big money to be made in publishing a book. This is true now, more than ever, especially when self-publishing figures appear to be eclipsing traditional book publishing numbers many times over.

Amanda Hocking and Barbara Freethy are just two of the most well-known millionaire authors; and this article barely scratches the surface. Huffington Post Live has a comprehensive video interview which interviews the some of today’s most successful self-published authors. With the publishing playing field leveled they interview Hugh Howey, Darcy Chan, Bella Andre, Jasinda Wilder, all New York Times Best Selling authors, and all approaching 1 million or more in book sales. With royalties what they are in self-publishing, you can bet those sales numbers has brought each of these authors millionaire status.


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Alert: Avoid Wrong Turns in Self-Publishing

Self-Publishing Companies to Avoid

Self-Publishing Companies to Avoid

As a self-publishing coach, I am often asked what are the self-publishing companies to avoid. What are the worst “self-publishing” companies? How can I make money in self-publishing without overspending or getting caught up with scam self-publishing companies?

If you have landed here, you are probably asking the same question. A quick easy answer is to say that self-publishing companies to avoid are ones which will not fit the needs of your self-publishing project. This article will help you select the best self-publishing companies for your book publishing projects and how to be aware of particular self-publishing companies to avoid.


Self-Publishing

If you are preparing to self-publish a book, this article we will help you to properly prepare for success in self-publishing. I have worked on the inside of traditional publishing and offset printing for decades. For the past five years,  I have worked extensively in the self-publishing industry and have a good grasp on the landscape of services available in the book publishing industry. In this article we will tackle the questions of which self publishing companies to avoid. But first, let’s consider the following:

  • So-called “self-publishing” companies are really just print on demand companies. Many offer extra services, but they are secondary. To get a more clear understanding of what self-publishing or print on demand really is and what other publishing terms mean, see the Dictionary of Publishing Terms.
  • Selecting a print on demand company or printer is only one step in the self-publishing process. If you have decided to publish a book yourself, understand that it is the equivalent of being your own general contractor for building your home. Selecting a printer to publish your book would be like selecting someone to pour the foundation, put on a roof, or frame up the house. It is but one piece of the entire picture.
  • Selecting the best printing company to print your book depends entirely on the type of book you are going to publish. So the “worst self publishing company” will be one who least likely matches the requirements of your book project. If publishing a four-color hardback illustrated children’s book, you will want to select a different printing company (“self-publishing company”) than if you are printing a black and white paperback. To learn more about the basic steps of how to publish a book, read the other articles on this site.

The Best Way to Avoid the Worst Self-Publishing Companies

To avoid the worst self-publishing companies, the best approach is to do an analysis of the requirements of your book publishing project. Ask yourself the following questions:

What is the purpose of my book project? Is it to sell lots of books, sell books online, sell books in person, enter the speaking circuit, give workshops using the books, or to leave a legacy for your family?

 Will you need a small, or large inventory of books?

 Is your budget tiny to small? If so, you will want to consider a print on demand method; books are printed as sold, with no inventory needed.

 How important is quality of printing and paper? If your book includes high quality four-color illustrations or photos you will need a different kind of printer, than if you are publishing a normal paperback book.

    • Make an Informed Decision

      The trick to finding the best printer for your book publishing project is research. Define the specifications of your printing job first. To put together the specifications of your printing project answer the following questions:

    • Will my book be paperback or hardback? (hardback is more expensive and complicated to do)
    • How many printed pages will my book be? (about double number of pages of a 12 point Word document manuscript)
    • Will I have illustrations inside the book?Will I need four-color inside the book?
    • What level of printing quality will my book project need?
    • What size will my book be? Will it be a custom-size or a standard book size?

Some of the Best Self-Publishing Companies

For paperbacks, I recommend starting your research with CreateSpace, LuLu, and Outskirts Press. These “players” have been around since the beginning of print on demand technology and they have their game down. Still, I get many comments about these self-publishing companies who sometimes are being seen as scam self-publishing companies. Keep in mind that although it is free to sign up for a print on demand account in most cases, extra services are often quite overpriced, and this is where the “scamming” comes in. People feel mislead when they discover the “extra costs” involved in self-publishing a book. I suggest reading my article on self-publishing services to learn more about this area. For small quantities (or even just one published book) of four-color books (lower quality),  I recommend starting your research with Blurb, and for larger quantities I recommend starting your research with Lightening Source. These are just some suggestions as there are many thousands of self-publishing companies available for printing your book. But the very first step is to clearly define the goals and needs of your book publishing project.  As for which self-publishing companies to avoid, I urge you to first do your research on your book project. Then you’ll understand which companies will be a better fit for your project. To learn more about the process of defining your book project, see the following articles:

  • How to Self-Publish a Book
  • Self-publishing Checklist: Publishing a book Yourself
  • Print on Demand- 12 Money Motives

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